OSHA Penalties Increase for 2023

HR & Safety

The minimum and maximum OSHA penalties for workplace safety and health violations will increase by 7.7% for 2023.

The changes to OSHA’s civil penalty amounts are based on cost-of-living adjustments for 2023. 

The 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act mandates the annual adjustments. It requires agencies to publish “catch-up” rules that adjust the level of civil monetary penalties and make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation. 

This year’s jump represents the highest increase in maximum civil penalties since 2016.

New OSHA Penalties

Penalty Type2022 Maximum Penalty2023 Maximum Penalty
Serious violation$14,502$15,625
Failure to abate$14,502/per day$15,625/per day
Posting requirement$14,502$15,625

IBI Citations

In addition to the increased fines, OSHA issued a memorandum to its regional administrators updating the guidance on issuing instance-by-instance citations for high-gravity serious violations. 

The guidance is specific to falls, trenching, machine guarding, respiratory protection, permit-required confined spaces, lockout tagout, and other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards specific to recordkeeping.  

Beginning March 27, OSHA officials will have additional leeway when issuing IBI citations.

Previously, the agency’s policy limited the use of IBI citations to only egregious willful citations. 

Beginning March 27, 2023, agency officials will have additional leeway when issuing an IBI citation for other-than-serious violations. 

IBI Factors

OSGA administrators will have the discretion to utilize IBI based on the following factors:

  • The employer has received a willful, repeat, or failure to abate violation within the past five years where that classification is current.
  • The employer has failed to report a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye pursuant to the requirements of 29 CFR 1904.39.
  • The proposed citations are related to a fatality/catastrophe.
  • The proposed recordkeeping citations are related to injury or illness(es) that occurred as a result of a serious hazard.

Each instance should be documented thoroughly and each case file must contain fully documented justification for IBI citations.

OSH assistant secretary of labor Doug Parker said the new rules are “intended to be a targeted strategy for those employers who repeatedly choose to put profits before their employees safety, health and well-being.”

Additional Inspectors 

Employers should also be aware the number of OSHA inspectors increased by 19%, which raises the possibility of on-site inspections.  

Before COVID, GZA GeoEnvironmental health and safety manager Chris Mayne said that OSHA performed about 31,000 inspections annually.

That dropped to approximately 24,000 inspections in 2021.

“I have seen companies become more safety conscious over the years with safety becoming integrated into the fabric of company culture.”

GZA’s Chris Mayne

Mayne said he anticipates as society adjusts to a post-COVID world the increase in staff will cause OSHA to at least return to its pre-pandemic inspection levels.

“I have seen companies become more safety conscious over the years with safety becoming integrated into the fabric of company culture, spending more resources on safety related issues to prevent illness and injuries from occurring in the workplace, and consequently, to reduce the likelihood of citations and fines,” Mayne said. 

“Having good safety management programs in place can help identify areas of non-compliance or risk and drive solutions to address these areas of concern.”

CBIA encourages members to take advantage of CONN-OSHA Consultation Services as a proactive step to stay in compliance and prepare for or avoid these types of inspections. 


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